The speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abbas Tajudeen has appealed to organised Labour, to shelve its planned nationwide strike.
Hon. Abbas who made the plea while speaking with House members on Tuesday, following the resumption of the reps from its annual recess, noted that taking such action at this time would worsen an already challenging situation in the country
The lawmaker however urged the organised Labour to give the parliament more time to engage the executive on issues raised by them, to save the country from any further collapse.
According to him, the NLC appeared to have run out of patience with the plans being put in place by the government for wage increases and palliatives for workers.
Abbas admitted the hardship being faced by Nigerians as a result of the harsh economic environment in the country and the removal of petroleum subsidies.
The lawmaker said: “Our economic challenges remain as daunting as they were before the recess.
“The country is challenged on several economic fronts: the cost of living crisis occasioned by the high cost of energy, the cost of food is skyrocketing daily, lack of livable wages, the negative effects of the unpredictable and fluctuating foreign exchange rates, a disappearing middle class and a host of other issues.
“When people are hungry and despondent, what is needed is a leadership with a clear vision, a leadership that daily, demonstrates its commitment and capacity to tackle the challenges at hand; a leadership that should be innovative in proffering short and long-term solutions.
“That is what Nigerians need at this time and as Representatives of the people, we must rise to the occasion.
“While the Executive Arm of government is engaging the citizens and trying to work out strategies to tackle the hardship in the country, our legislative actions must therefore be dictated by a clear robust vision aimed at supporting the Executive in restoring our citizens on the path of prosperity.
“We must deploy the necessary legislative instruments to create jobs, ensure payment of living wages in the civil service, pull Nigerians out of poverty, address the prevailing infrastructure deficit, rid the country of crippling insurgency; ensure the security of lives and property and affordable functional education so that no child is left behind.
He added “On account of these economic challenges, the organized labour under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) seems to have lost patience with the painstaking effort of the government to plan and provide sustainable minimum wage and palliatives to citizens.
“The organized labour it appears would embark on a nationwide strike by this midnight following the expiration of a 21-day ultimatum issued to the government.
“As the people’s representatives, we feel and equally share in the pains of our people at these very difficult times.
“However, I would like to appeal to the Nigerian Labour Congress to consider the various actions being taken by the Federal Government to alleviate the current hardship faced by Nigerians.
“As promised earlier, this House remains committed to getting a survival wage to all Nigerian workers.
“The 10th House had assured Nigerians that we would be interfacing between the organized labour and the government to quickly work out a realistic new national minimum wage and such other palliatives to enable citizens to cope with the economic impact of fuel subsidy removal, the downward fall of the naira to the dollar, skyrocketing cost of food and general high cost of living in the country.
“It is our considered opinion that embarking on a nationwide strike at this point will only aggravate an already bad situation. I therefore urge the leadership of Labour Unions to give us the benefit of the doubt and suspend any planned strike action while we engage the executive.”